Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Be Brave in the New World

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Be Brave in the New World

Article excerpt

Back in the good old days (just a few years ago), collection development usually meant buying a book or subscribing to a periodical for your library. You researched it, ordered it, paid for it, got it in house, processed it, and put it on the shelves. You owned it forever. Or at least you owned it until it got too worn out, went out of date, or until someone lost it or stole it or ripped pages out of it.

Now things are a bit more complicated. Allowing electronic access to everyday resources seemed hard at first, then "virtual collections" came along. Now we are developing collections, both virtual and physical, with electronic resources. And licensing is a bear! Kim Guenther, in her Building Digital Libraries column, laments the same complications. Sometimes it all seems like a bit much, doesn't it?

Then again, maybe I shouldn't be such a naysayer. There are bright points to this movement toward electronic collection development. For instance, information about all the items you're considering is very easy to come by and it can be updated much more frequently than it used to be. And all the complications of recent years are pushing consortia to become bigger and stronger; more people are banding together for the common good. (See Angee Baker's feature on page 46.) And Janet Balas made a great point in her column as she discussed what e-book lending would mean to libraries. Complications aside, think of this: Since they exist in cyberspace in practically unlimited copies, e-books can never be lost! …

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